The Shirley Jackson Awards

Shirley Jackson’s novel “The Haunting of Hill House” is one of the most perfect books written in any genre, in my opinion. Jackson’s an author who never failed to represent characters with uncomfortable realism and complexity. Strikingly for her time, this included her female characters, which (also strikingly) outnumber the men. People who don’t read books usually have encountered at least one of her stories, “The Lottery,” in English classes somewhere along the line, because Jackson’s work isn’t relegated to the horror section of the bookstore or library.

Thus I am honored (and okay, yeah, pretty darn shocked) to have “The Couvade” nominated for  a Shirley Jackson award in the category of novelette.

Here’s a list of all the finalists and information about the award: The Shirley Jackson Awards

Seeing my big little story make it onto the list of finalists is more than I could hope for, and I’m delighted the piece may get more attention. It’s a story that is unapologetically queer, yet does not hinge upon any of the characters being or not being queer. This representation pleases me.

Awards and nominations don’t make you a better writer, but they put your work on the radar so it can find it’s home with the readers who will care about it and keep your characters alive. I really care about these characters and I’m so happy they aren’t wasting away in my slush folder. It’s an honor to get away with writing the stories I want to write, and a gift to see them published now and then.

Do you want to read “The Couvade”? Of course you do. Have at it:

The Couvade

The Couvade (Short Sharp Shocks! Book 35) by [Joanna  Koch]

Published by: Joe

Joe Koch writes literary horror and surrealist trash. A Shirley Jackson Award finalist, Joe is the author of The Wingspan of Severed Hands, The Couvade, and Convulsive. Their short fiction appears in publications such as Vastarien, Southwest Review, Pseudopod, and Children of the New Flesh. He’s been a flash fiction judge for Cemetery Gates Media as well as co-editing the art horror anthology Stories of the Eye from Weirdpunk Books. Find Joe (he/they) online at and on Twitter @horrorsong.

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